Commissioners' Work Session
Thursday, September 24, 1998
Room 201S, Building E, Park 35, Austin
This meeting is a work session for discussion between commissioners and staff. No public testimony or comment will be accepted except by invitation of the commission.
- Discussion of agency report on enforcement actions for various media including agriculture, air, industrial and hazardous waste, municipal solid waste, occupational certification, petroleum storage tanks, public water supply, water quality, and multi-media. Anne Dobbs (Enforcement Division) presented this item. No action was taken.
- Consideration of a report by the Business Process Review Permitting Process Implementation Team on implementing the recommendations to improve the Commission’s permitting processes both, in the short and long-term. Dan Wittliff (Chief Engineer), Lydia Gonzales-Gromatzky (Office of Legal Services), and Kerry Drake (New Source Review Division) presented this item. Staff presented five questions to the commission.
- Regarding the degree of advocacy for a permit that should be expressed by permitting staff during the recommendation review subprocess, the commission directed staff to maintain current practice. At a minimum, staff would state whether a draft permit meets all applicable requirements but have the flexibility to elaborate on specific components of the permit if that is appropriate within the context of a hearing. The Commissioners’ deferred final decision on this issue and directed staff to revisit it at a later Commissioners’ Work Session.
- Regarding the renewal issue, the commission stated that a uniform process for renewals may not be appropriate and directed staff to look for opportunities within individual programs for enhancements.
- Regarding moving a permit through the process in a timely fashion and dealing with the possible motives of applicants, the commission directed staff to implement a standard review process that would have a two notice of deficiency (NOD) limit for applications that are “grossly inadequate or grossly inaccurate.” The permitting program would retain the flexibility to issue subsequent NODs if appropriate. The commission also recognized that elements of the permitting process may itself result in NODs and directed staff to look further at that process and the questions that are often being asked of applicants.
- Regarding the issuance of NODs during the administrative review process, the commission directed staff to develop a system that offers one NOD loop in the Administrative Review as a matter of standard practice, but allows the Division Director to grant a second NOD on a case by case basis.
- Regarding the development of more general permits and a de minimis rule, the commission directed staff to choose a pilot project for the development of a process that may be used for other programs. The commission also endorsed the development of a de minimis rule for the New Source Review Program.
- The commission further authorized staff to proceed with seeking public input on the BPR recommendations.
- Consideration of issues related to the Commission's Regulatory Guidance Document for Implementation of Texas Water Quality Certification Rules. Ken Petersen (Deputy Director, Office of Water Resource Management), Mark Jordan (Director, Water Policy and Regulations Division), Sally Gutierrez (Director, Water Quality Division), Tom Weber (Water Quality Division), Carol Kim (Water Policy and Regulations Division), Mark Fisher (Water Quality Division), and Anthony Tatu (Environmental Law Division) presented this item. The commission concurred with staff’s recommendation to convene an ad hoc group to provide further stakeholder input into the guidance document and directed staff to return no later than January 1999 with recommendations for finalizing the document.
- Consideration of activities associated with State Implementation Plans and the proposed Regional Clean Air Strategy. The commission took public comment from Carlos Davis, Ph.D. and Keith Zimmerman, P.E., representing the Greater Texoma Air Quality Coalition; Erich Birch, of Lloyd, Gosselink, Blevins, Rochelle Baldwin & Townsend, P.C. and Art Bedrosian, Zephyr Environmental Corporation, representing the Texas Air Quality Coalition; and Barbara Erickson from State Representative Ron Clark’s office. No action was taken.
- Consideration of the agency's legislative proposals and other related issues to be addressed during the 76th Texas legislative session. The commission may also meet in closed meeting to receive legal advice regarding these matters, or any of the above matters, as authorized by Section 551.071 of the Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551 of the Government Code. Any commission action, decision, or vote on these matters will be made in open meeting in accordance with Section 551.102 of the Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551 of the Government Code. Steve Minick (Director, Intergovernmental Relations) presented this item. Mr. Minick provided an update on the status of the commission’s legislative recommendations. No action was taken.
- Planning for the next Commissioners’ Work Session. The next Commissioners’ Work Session is scheduled for Thursday, October 8, 1998, in E-201S, at 1:30. It will include the following issues: the enforcement report, a discussion of enforcement orders issued to small businesses, the regional clean air strategy, legislative updates, and the Environmental Council of States fall meeting. The session tentatively scheduled for October 22 has been canceled. Consequently, the discussion of Regionalization is tentatively scheduled for November 5.